Workplace of the future will be in the cloud
Most Americans believe that the "workplace of the future" will be cloud based, according to a recent survey by Wakefield Research sponsored by cloud-based communications firm Citrix.
In addition, a majority of the 1,000 American adults surveyed by Wakefield Research recognized the economic benefits of cloud computing, with 32 percent citing it as a catalyst for small business growth.
At the same time, most Americans are cloudy about what cloud computing is, with a majority saying they never use cloud computing. Yet 95 percent of the respondents said they use services--such as online banking, online shopping, social networking, and online games--that are cloud based.
Respondents who limit their use of the cloud or avoid it altogether cited cost, security, and privacy concerns as the main reasons for their cloud phobia.
"This survey clearly shows that the cloud phenomenon is taking root in our mainstream culture, yet there is still a wide gap between the perceptions and realities of cloud computing," said Kim DeCarlis, vice president of corporate marketing at Citrix. "The most important takeaway from this survey is that the cloud is viewed favorably by the majority of Americans, and when people learn more about the cloud they understand it can vastly improve the balance between their work and personal lives."
According to a separate survey conducted by Spiceworks and sponsored by EMC, a social network for IT professionals, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are increasingly turning to cloud-based applications and services to improve employee productivity and reduce IT costs.
The most popular cloud-based applications among SMBs are file-sharing, email, and productivity applications, according to the survey of 323 SMB IT professionals in North America and EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa).
One-third of those surveyed said employees are using file-sharing services at the office on their own, with 87 percent selecting Dropbox. For those IT professionals who have or plan to approve a file-sharing vendor in the next six months, 28 percent are considering Dropbox, 10 percent prefer Box, and 37 percent would select a different vendor.
More than three-quarters of respondents said data accessibility was the primary advantage of file-sharing services; however, 73 percent cited a lack of control and security issues as their biggest concerns.
Slightly more than half of those surveyed have deployed an on-premise email product, while 42 percent have chosen a hosted environment. An additional 6 percent plan to migrate to hosted email within the next six months.
According to the Spiceworks survey, 34 percent of those with a hosted environment are using Google, while 16 percent have selected Microsoft Office 365. Half of respondents have selected another hosted option, which includes hosted instances of Microsoft Exchange.
More than one-third of respondents said they are currently using or plan to use a cloud-based productivity suite for word processing, spreadsheets, and other tasks. At the same time, 64 percent are not currently using or plan to use a cloud-based offering.
For those who have deployed or are planning to deploy a cloud-based productivity suite, Google Apps (48 percent) and Microsoft Office 365 (43 percent) are the most popular. Interestingly, North American companies are more likely to adopt cloud-based productivity suites, with 38 percent currently using or planning to adopt in the future, versus 30 percent in EMEA.